I feel as if I have spent the last week conditioning my body for a solo around the world non-stop airplane/sailing/hot air balloon trip. You know the kind where the adventurer is by themselves so they are only able to sleep for short spurts at a time? And even then, it's not really sleep... it's more like sleeping with your eyes open.
Trying to understand Charlie has been a little tougher than I had hoped. I have been trying everything I can to get him to sleep without being held or lying on my chest or attached to my boob. It's like this game, "If I put a hat on you, will you sleep without being held? Do you need to sleep on the washing machine? Do you like it when I stand on one foot? Do you like it when I sing Raffi? Do you like to have one arm in the blanket and the other out?"
According to Oprah, he is making a series of "Oooo's", "Ohh's," and "Ohheehe's" that I am supposed to be able to easily interpret as hunger, dirty diaper, etc. However, all his "Ooooheheheheohhhhh's" sound the same to me. When he's not making "Oooohoheheheh's," he's either crying or it sounds like alien babble.
Well, I am happy to report that I see sleep (for both of us) on the horizon. Last night at 2 a.m., I think I figured out Charlie's "thing." He hates to be swaddled. (This makes no sense to me, but whatever.) He likes to sleep on his side. (Don't tell the baby police on me.) In other words, he'll sleep without being held if I let him sleep like a little man! How easy is that?! I can't believe it took me a week to figure out his "thing," and it was actually very simple! All I needed to do was go against those parenting tips/book/Oprah advice. A-ha!
Posted by Cristin at 5:16 PM
As I've had a few days to think about Charlie's birth, the word that keeps coming to my mind to describe the experience is control. It probably sounds weird to say that about birth - a situation where you must give up full control to your body to get things done - but it really opened my eyes to the possibilities when choosing not to have your baby in a traditional hospital setting.
Alright, so here's the story. (Please bear with me. This might be a little too specific for some people, but I find the detailed birth stories of others to be the most fascinating.)
I woke up at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning with very strong contractions. There was no doubt in my mind that this was labor. I woke Erik up. He sort of sleepwalked out of bed and within 10 minutes had the Aquadoula (the tub) set up in our bedroom. He then started filling it up using a hose he had connected to the faucet by our washer. While he was doing that, I walked around the house getting a bag ready for Luke to go to our friend's house just in case he woke up while I was in labor. At this point my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and like I said, really strong. I felt pretty crampy, so I didn't feel as much of a break between each one as I would have liked.
Our midwife (Justine) arrived a little after 3 a.m. She asked if I wanted to be checked and I said no because the last thing I wanted to do was try to lie on my bed during these strong contractions. In the meantime, Erik prepared the bed by putting some shower curtain liners on top of our sheets, and then placing clean sheets that could be thrown away on top of those. Eventually the tub was about half full and I got in. Initially, the water felt too hot. (I had been worried it wouldn't be warm enough.)
Now, nobody freak out. I am going to post a picture that was taken while I was in the tub, during labor. I wasn't going to post any pictures like this, but I figured this one was semi-tasteful enough. Besides, I think it will answer a lot of questions.
I know it looks like we're just hanging out, having a casual conversation, but that was taken during a contraction. It also answers that most "important" question asked by my sisters and Candace, "What were you were wearing?" (When Candace asked, "And on the bottom?" I answered, "A skirt, naturally.") One of the reasons I really liked the tub was because I was literally able to float in the water through each contraction. Of course I still felt pain, but I'd like to think this eased it a little bit. Poor Erik is a real trooper. I don't think he was in the most comfortable position - slouched over the tub, trying to hold me up - but he kept it up as long as I needed him too.
With Luke's labor I pushed for 90 minutes (under my doctor's threats of an episiotomy and a c-section if I didn't get this baby out ASAP, and me screaming between pushes, "Look at my birth plan!!") I really hoped that this baby would be faster. No such luck. Justine checked me around 5:30 a.m. and I was at a 10. I started pushing and was quickly reminded why I HATE pushing. While pushing, I spent a lot of time thinking about all those people that push their babies out in 2 or 3 pushes (I hate you all) and then I got frustrated wondering why it was taking me so long. Then I started questioning whether something is wrong with me, my body... then I started thinking that I wanted to die, that maybe that would be easier. Seriously, these are the things that went through my head while I was pushing. Sometime during the pushing phase, Justine suggested I get out of the tub and try other positions. She also threw a Dryers All Fruit Berry Popscicle in my mouth which seemed to make everything all better. Charlie was born at 7 a.m. (after 90 minutes of pushing) while I stood in between the tub and the bed, hanging on to Erik, in a semi-squatting position.
(In my opinion, there is no better feeling in the world than successfully pushing a baby out after thinking you couldn't do it. It's that whole theory that you have to feel pain to the know the true meaning of happiness. I've never run a marathon, but assume it's a similar feeling of success.)
Fifteen minutes after Charlie was born, Luke woke up. It's hard to tell from this picture because he has the pacifier in his mouth, but he was SO confused. He was like, "What the - ?" I can't believe he slept through the whole thing! We really took a gamble by not waking him up to take him to our friend's house. (He did end up going over to my friend's house for the whole day about 40 minutes after he woke up.)
So, immediately after Charlie was born, he was put on my chest, cleaned off, I was stitched up, etc. Justine brought me toast, fruit, juice, and vanilla tea. They drained the tub into the front yard (using the hose), which probably sounds gross, except that the water was completely clean because I didn't have him in the tub. By the time Justine left - maybe around 10 a.m.? - you couldn't even tell that a baby was just born there. Erik and I spent the rest of the day laying in bed with Charlie, taking turns having him sleep on our chests. It was really nice.
Alright, so back to this control issue. There were many things I loved about a homebirth. I loved the ability to control my environment. I labored with the lights low. There was little, if any, other noise, besides Erik coaching me through each contraction. No one was yelling at me to "1-2-3- push! 1-2-3- push!" I was able to push when I felt like pushing. I had a lot of time to think and "listen to my body." I loved that I didn't have to go through heavy labor in the car for an hour on the way to the hospital, (that still sounds like HELL to me). I also liked the control over my position during labor. I don't think words can describe how sweet it was to sit with Charlie and Erik in our own bed all day, able to eat food that I like, without any interruptions. It was a great experience.
With all this being said, homebirths are definitely not for everyone. I am fortunate in that I have relatively "fast" labors and am considered "low-risk." I also would only choose this option if you had access to an experienced and licensed midwife. I also wouldn't do it if you like being in the hospital (hey, some people do!). Many of the differences I noticed between Charlie's birth and my experience in the hospital with Luke might also be attributed to the difference between a midwife and a doctor. Someone who has had their children with a midwife in the hospital might be able to confirm or deny this for me.
Over the past few days I have noticed even more differences between Charlie and Luke. For example, Charlie picked up breastfeeding very quickly, whereas Luke and I struggled with latching on for at least a week. My milk also came in really fast this time (the day after Charlie was born.) All of this could be because I am more experienced now too.
That's all for now. Luke is coming home from Camarillo tomorrow, so we need to go pick up all the knives, scissors, bleach (and other non-toddler proof) items we've left lying around!
Posted by Cristin at 12:14 PM
Erik here doing a quick update for Cristin's blog. Cristin enjoys writing her blog so much that if I were to give a full report of today's happenings she would be upset with me for stealing all of her fun. That being said, she's sleeping, and she likely won't be on the Internet until at least tomorrow, and I know family and friends are dying to see a picture of the newest Lassen.
Charles John Lassen was born this morning at 7:00am. He weighs 8lbs 3oz and is 21 inches long. Baby Charlie and Cristin are both doing great. I'll let Cristin share the details of labor and birth, but I want to add my own quick comments. Having Charlie at home was a great decision. Our midwife was AMAZING and fully embodies what a "True" birth professional is. I have a new found awe and respect for midwives, and can't believe the many services that Justine rendered. Charlie's birth was night and day different from Luke's. Luke's birth was still special but the difference between the two was seriously like the difference between spending 6 hours at a relaxing health spa vs. spending 6 hours in the emergency room following a car accident. It was a beautiful experience and it really is tragic that the majority of mothers in "modern" U.S.A. don't get to enjoy the birthing process the way that we did today.
I also have to mention that my wife was amazingly calm and focused through out the labor. She never freaked or panicked. I'm so proud of her for having the courage to choose the home birth option despite a long lists of naysayers and know-it-alls I believe she had the birth experience she was hoping for. It was a beautiful day and I would support Cristin in a second if she chose to do it this way again in the future.
I love you Cristin, you did great. (more pics below)
Baby Charlie's profile - The greater Lassen family is quite proud of their "Lassen noses"
I know Cristin won't like this picture, but I wanted everyone to see how good she looked the same day she home delivered a baby!
He has his mom's personality
Showin off the monkey fur
Older brother ready to "teach" humility
Posted by Erik at 3:07 AM
Just kidding. If only it were that easy.
I was born on my due date. The story goes that on the day I was born my dad called the doctor to tell him that my mom was in labor. He said, "How do you know she's in labor?" My dad, a first time parent, responded, "Because it's her due date." The doctor scoffed, but came over anyway. I was born just hours later.
If we have another child, I am going to add a week to my real due date. My life has turned into one big caveat: "Sure I can, unless I have the baby." Which is a ridiculous statement because, duh, no one stays pregnant forever. I know there is a very good chance this baby is coming sometime in the next few weeks, so why do I feel the need to end every sentence with, "... unless I have the baby"? I hate being unable to make any real commitments. I hate that my gut hangs out of almost every t-shirt I or Erik own. I hate feeling guilty for being too tired to take care of Luke the way I would like.
This leads to my next confession - I am ready for this to end, i.e., get this baby out of me. So what if my floor needs to be mopped and we still don't have a name picked out? I know that after he is born, I will probably have sore nipples and be even more tired than I am right now, but oh well. When is anyone really ready for a baby to come? Will the baby care if my baseboards are filthy? I highly doubt it. I'm not to the point of trying old wives tales to induce labor, but that will probably start next week.
Things that bring me hope right now: Pioneer women having babies on the trail. The fact that I have done this before. The idea that people are coming to help after the baby comes.
I also thank God that I don't have that awful doctor in Bakersfield anymore.
Here's one last picture - this is the only thing that feels good right now - the yoga ball.
By the way, in case you are wondering, I do use it just like this -
Posted by Cristin at 3:12 PM
As much as I would love to get Luke out of diapers, I doubt I will consider potty training him before he is 2 1/2, at least. I keep hearing these horror stories from my friends about how they tried to potty train too early and it was a nightmare, so we will wait... at least that's the plan. However, recently Luke has started going into the bathroom, removing his pants and diaper, and then using his little step stool to sit on the toilet. Sounds peachy, huh? Except that the way Luke sits on the toilet is more like doing the splits across the widest part of the seat. The first few times I witnessed this I thought he was trying to step inside the toilet.
Yesterday when I was at Target, I couldn't resist picking up this little gem: The Munchkin All Star Potty Seat. Luke was in love instantly. He carried the seat around the house, wore it on his head, and kept pointing to the seat and saying, "Balls, Mommy! Balls!" Erik put him to bed last night, and when I went into his room this morning I found him sleeping with the seat in his crib. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
So, it's turned into this fun little game where Luke sits on the All Star Potty Seat for a few minutes, acts like he's going to go (but never does), wipes himself, flushes the toilet and then says, "Yay!" as if he accomplished something great, when all he really did was go through the motions. I, in the meantime, like to fantasize that maybe he will potty train himself on his own (yeah right).
Of course, if he is unable to potty train himself on his own, there is always this idea. I hate news stories like this. They are so depressing. Why on Earth would anyone think it is a good idea to deprive a 23-month old (almost the same age as Luke) of water for bedwetting? These nuts even laced drinking glasses throughout the house with hot sauce so that the poor boy wouldn't drink it. It almost sounds like the type of deprivation technique that would be invented by the crazy Babywise people.
Posted by Cristin at 1:44 PM
Here are Mitt Romney's Top 10 Reasons he dropped out of the presidential race:
"#5 - I'd rather get fat, grow a beard and try for the nobel prize!"
I love it!
Posted by Cristin at 8:33 AM
I can't take it anymore. I have to write something about David Archuleta. I realize that my honesty might offend many of you. It's this unspoken rule that the general public does not criticize precious Davy. The few times anyone has criticized him, its like, "GASP! How dare you! Don't you realize this is David Archuleta!? THE DAVID ARCHULETA!"
Take this video for example. When I noticed the background singer crying, I was like, "Uh, did I miss something? Did her cat die?"
This kid has a great voice. You can't argue with that. However, what the heck?? Every contestant in the top 12 has a great voice this year! It's about what you do with that voice and how you present yourself. The real question is, will I buy his album? NO, because I'm not a fan of Peabo Bryson and that is who David Archuleta reminds me of. After listening to David Archuleta sing adult contemporary ballads, week after week, I just can't take it anymore. Then the judges praise him like he's the greatest thing ever. If he does make a mistake (like forget the lyrics), they say,"Well... you are only 17!" Am I the only one that thinks he sings like a 40 year old trapped in the body of a 17 year old?
Please don't think I am demeaning little Davy's character in anyway. I'm sure the boy is a great and sweet kid. All I'm asking is that he act and sing like a 17 year old. When this competition is over, he will have two options: 1) If he continues down this strange Adult Contemporary path, he will inevitably have a Clay Aiken-esque career where he only appeals to this strange cross-section of 40 something women and my sisters or 2) If he starts acting his age, he will star in musicals on the Disney Channel. I vote for the Disney Channel!
Posted by Cristin at 7:30 AM
Have you ever read Bridget Jones Diary? You know how she calls everyone "Smug Marrieds"? That's how I feel about being a renter sometimes, i.e., a thirtysomething singleton hanging out with a bunch of cocky married folk.
Our landlord informed us this week that unless we are willing to sign a new lease and take on a $300 a month rent increase, that we will be given a 30 day notice as soon as they can find a new tenant that will. Oh joy. Opening my home to potential tenants, finding a new place to live and moving are three things I was really hoping to do within the weeks surrounding the birth of our new baby. What a great time for a homebirth! (I hope the sarcasm is transferring through my writing to you. )
When I notified my mother of these untimely events, she said, "Oh, that's what you get for not owning a house!" Thanks for the pep talk, Smug Homeowner.
We knew this was part of the package when we moved back to Southern California. Home ownership would not come easily to us as long as we chose to remain here. Even in "middle of nowhere Tehachapi," home affordability is difficult, and while the prices are starting to drop, I now question whether or not I want to make that kind of commitment to this town. Other options to get into our own home have included "creative" financing (we actually toyed with doing that while we were both working... I'm so glad we didn't), me going back to work, or taking out a conventional 30 year loan that is almost half our monthly take home pay. (How they can still lend that kind of money to people, I still don't understand.) While lots of people tell us to "just do it," I refuse to be house poor. I don't expect to have fancy furniture right away, but I would like to be able to afford to put in a backyard or fix a broken water heater once we move in.
Now that we are searching for a new rental, I am reminded of how Smug Homeowners like to treat us "lowly" renters. With all of the credit checks (for which we must always pay a non-refundable fee), reference checks, and questioning, I feel like I am on trial. I wish it were enough to say, "We'll be the best renters you ever had," but even with that kind of statement the Smug Homeowners treat us like we're guilty of destroying their precious rentals before we ever move in.
Erik is constantly reminding me that he would rather be on this side of the equation, "House prices are dropping! People are walking away from their homes! Ha ha, stupid house flippers and speculators! At least we're debt free!" This is all true, but like my mother (the Smug Homeowner) said, "As long as you keep renting, you can be kicked out at anytime." Unfortunately, being pregnant and days away from my due date does not make us exempt from this sort of scenario. I'm trying not to hyperventilate every time I think about moving this month, but this past week has been hard.
(Note to Smug Homeowners Reading This Post: Wipe that smile off of your face. Stop thinking how much better you are than the renters. If you must comment, please try not to make it so "smug" and try remembering what is was like before you bought your home. Thanks.)
Posted by Cristin at 10:44 PM
My due date is in 10 days. Time is moving way too quickly. It still doesn't seem real that sometime between now and possibly as late as May 6th (?!) , we are going to be having a new baby. A new, nameless, baby... it's like I know this baby is coming, yet I still keep putting important things off, like packing a "just in case" bag for the hospital, calling the pediatrician to inform them that this is happening, skimming over my Bradley book again, etc. I really need to stop talking about doing these things and just do them. Why do I procrastinate so much? (In other words, why am I so lazy?)
I will tell you why I am lazy:
I am very large. The baby has dropped. When I do any sort of physical activity for more than 5 minutes, I start having Braxton Hicks contractions which make me stop what I am doing. I dread going out into public because none of my clothes fit and my belly hangs out the bottom. (Why should I buy more maternity clothes when I am in the home stretch?) Even right now as I type this, I am wearing one of Erik's shirts, and my belly is STILL hanging out the bottom.
I don't remember being this tired when I was at the end of my pregnancy with Luke and I think that was because I was able to take advantage of the state imposed maternity leave, four weeks before my due date (thank you, California), and hibernate for a month. I watched a lot of Baby Story and ate ice cream all day. Unfortunately, there is no state imposed maternity leave from being a mother of a screaming toddler. All I can say is kudos to those women who have lots of babies.
More evidence - here is the Aquadoula in the corner of my bedroom, along with a box of other stuff I might need when I am in labor (towels, sheets, etc.). We've pushed our bed to the side to make room for it. (Yup, it's official, I'm a weirdo, but I can't tell you how excited I am to be in that tub during labor. My biggest fear is that I won't have time to fill it up.)
One last clue that this is really happening - a baby shower! I felt kind of weird when some of my friends told me they wanted to throw me a shower. I hadn't expected to have one because this a second child, another boy, and close in age to Luke, so I've been buying little things here and there during this entire pregnancy. I was also worried no one would come. (Silly me, huh?) Well, it was actually lots of fun! I am so grateful for the 1500 wipes and 4 months supply of diapers I received, in addition to other little things I hadn't thought about, but now seem perfectly necessary.... like matching outfits for my two boys - who would have thought of this? Not me!
Posted by Cristin at 10:10 PM
Most normal people would take a few weeks or more to watch a DVD of an entire season (22 episodes) of a television show, but we're not normal. We borrowed Season One of Arrested Development from some friends and watched the entire DVD over the course of two and a half days. That's about 9 1/2 hours of television. A little draining, I'll admit, but so much more efficient that waiting week to week, watching commercials and inevitable repeats, etc. Plus, Erik kept looking at me saying, "Wow, don't you enjoy all this time we're spending together," which makes both of us feel less guilty for neglecting other chores, like let's say, getting ready for a baby that could come any day now, sleep, and other important things like that.
I wish I could say that it's only been the Arrested Development: Season One DVD that has caused us to be glued to the television for hours on end. Unfortunately, anytime we get television on DVD (any season of 24, Lost, Band of Brothers) we turn into these crazy obsessed people who must finish the DVD. However, we have decided that watching t.v. on DVD is definitely a better way... better than DVR and definitely better than live television. Now, if only I had the willpower to wait through an entire season of The Office, Lost, or 30 Rock to put my theory to the test. This way, instead of wasting an hour or two a week, I could just waste one week of evenings a year.
Posted by Cristin at 2:15 PM
There are these rare times that I think Luke understands the whole pregnancy thing. For example, at my midwife's appointment last week, he lifted up my shirt, took the tape measure out of her bag and started wrapping it around me. He said "Baby's heart!" when we listed to the heartbeat. It was really cute.
Then there was today, which is like the majority of time, when Luke treats the big belly like a big ball. I took this picture tonight after dinner. This is him HITTING my belly. Hard. He also tries to sit on my belly like it's a chair. Tonight he threw a fit because he wanted to sit on my belly as I played the piano. I am still in pain just thinking about it. OW.
More proof that he doesn't get it - tonight I asked him where the baby was and he tried lifting up Erik's shirt. Then he lifted up his own shirt. Silly Luke, men can't have babies!
Luke thinking men can have babies reminds me of Oprah. I can't stand Oprah. I've always been irritated by her show, but it's hit new levels recently. I rarely watch it for many reasons, mostly because her comments are so ridiculous and her studio audience never disagrees with her. However, for some strange reason I turned it on this week and saw the show about the pregnant "man." I could only handle about 15 minutes before I had to turn it off. Of course the whole time Oprah was raving about how this is "so fabulous" and how they will be "wonderful parents." Did anyone else catch this? Was I the only one disturbed by the whole situation?
Posted by Cristin at 9:18 PM
37 weeks and it's official: I have gained 41 pounds, i.e., the weight of an average 6 year old, during the last 9 months. This baby probably weighs around 5 lbs. right now, so the other 36 pounds are..... in my face? Probably.
Either way, please don't mention anything about this weight gain to Alchoholly. She told me to never gain more than 10 pounds with a pregnancy or it would stay on my hips forever! (She really did say that to me and she was dead serious.)
Posted by Cristin at 2:10 PM
The winner of the best April Fools Day Joke this year goes to... CNN! Get a load of this article, "Rapper Snoop Dogg Converts to Mormonism." There are so many good quotes, but my favorite is definitely:
Though Snoop Dogg has been hesitant to publicly discuss his recent spiritual journey, he commented on the experience of attending his first “Family Home Evening” in a recent interview with People Magazine.
“I was hooked from the start,” Snoop Dogg said. “We talked about the purpose of life, played Mousetrap, and ate brownies. The kids thought it was off the hook, for real.”
And yes, in case you were wondering, Gladys Knight was the one that introduced him to the church.
Posted by Cristin at 9:26 PM
Ugh, as if network television couldn't get any worse. NBC has officially announced it's plans to premiere a spin-off of The Office immediately following the Super Bowl next February. Bad idea. Why must movie and television executives ruin good things by beating them into the ground?
Posted by Cristin at 1:15 PM
We rented The Business of Being Born from Netflix last week, and I can't stop thinking about it. I really wish that all women would watch this movie. It is a documentary about birth practices in the United States. The film follows several women throughout pregnancy and labor. The director, Abby Epstein, and producer, Ricki Lake, do a good job of showing many choices available to pregnant women, as well as the positive aspects of both hospital and home births. If you are expecting to see A Baby Story: The Movie, this is not that kind of film... and that is a really good thing. (I stopped watching A Baby Story once Luke was born because I got so irritated by the interviews with the "fame hungry" doctors and how almost every birth was induced or ended in a c-section. The same with Bringing Home Baby. I couldn't understand why some of these women didn't even try to breastfeed in the first few days they got home from the hospital. Sorry, I don't mean to sound so intolerant, but I know I do.)
My favorite part of the film was the illustration of how unnecessary medical interventions cause a snowball effect, leading to complications and numerous c-sections. She makes a very compelling argument: There is a time and place for medical interventions, but for a healthy and low-risk pregnancy, this is overkill and causing too many problems.
The next time I tell someone I'm planning a homebirth and they say (as often happens about 75% of the time I tell anyone this), "You're brave, but I could never do that. What if something goes wrong?" I'm going to tell them to watch this movie. I feel very strongly that mothers should be able to do what they feel is best for them and their baby concerning childbirth, and this movie does an excellent job of educating women on the many choices that are available to them.
Even if you are not planning on having children any time soon, or you are done having kids, you should still check this movie out. (I think Netflix is the only place to get it right now, besides catching a special screening.) I would be really curious to hear other people's opinions on this film. Here's the trailer:
Posted by Cristin at 10:44 PM